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Senong deserves a chance

Opinion:

It has been a culture in the national team to chop coaches whenever results were poor, but the question remains – are we dealing with the root cause?

Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has appointed four coaches in a period of eight years, but still there has been no progress. It is obvious. firing coaches because of results is not the panacea.

Coach Thabo Senong was appointed head coach at the end of August 2019. He has one year and six months at he helm now, much of which was spend during the national coronavirus lockdown.

The country went into a lockdown for at least eight months without football. In November 2020, the country relaxed the restrictions and Senong had to scramble a formidable team for Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin. which he played against back to back, losing one-nil on aggregate.

It is worth noting at this point that by accepting this role, Senong has risked his career to join a country where there is no proper structures of football, such as football academies where players are developed.

If you lack football development in your country, what would you expect? Over the decades premier league clubs has been depending on players from high schools tournament to recruit players. it was already a problem as the football break was brief.

Years back, LEFA implemented Club Licensing regulations where all elite clubs were forced to have development clubs, but in reality there were no development teams. What should we expect? Even if you can hire Pep Guardiola or Alex Ferguson, he would still fail.

Even if you can hire Pep Guardiola or Alex Ferguson, he would still fail…

LEFA over the years took initiative to conduct coaching courses and there are hundreds of coaches in the country, unfortunately those coaches do not support each other to assist the growth of football in the country.

It is now 2021 and we do not know our style of play, we do not know our strength and weakness unlike other countries. We can identify our style of play only if coaches work together and support national team head coach because if we win,  we win as a country.

Another factor hampering the progress of our football is lack of facilities in the country, the government of Lesotho does not treat sport as priority at all. There are no sport facilities like in Botswana, Swaziland or Namibia where there are multiple sport facilities.

Our government has been failing dismally in their mandate to come up with policies, level the fields, so to speak. If it fails to do that, we cannot compete anywhere. Successful governments have invested heavily in sport, but here it is opposite.

Therefore, I disagree vehemently with those who advocate for Thabo Senong to be sacked after failing to qualify for AFCON 2021.

It is laughable to hire a coach in a year or less and expect him to take you to AFCON or World Cup. Give him a chance to instill his philosophy because our football is disorganized structurally.

The solution to these problems may be too simple, Lesotho Football Association should force facilitate for all 16 elite league clubs to have well-funded development structures to scout and develop football.

Create a coaches’ platform where all coaches meet maybe twice a month to exchange ideas to develop our style of play and football in general. Work together with Ministry of Sport to persuade the government and parliament to understand the importance of football in the country.

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